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Why the red and white "Diver down" flag?

Discussion in 'Dive Flag Awareness' started by Storker, Oct 23, 2017.

  1. Firebar

    Firebar Angel Fish

    # of Dives: 25 - 49
    Location: UK
    Pretty rarely! But then how many of them are still relavent? Most are replaced by sound signals (the turn left, turn right stuff) or VHF (especially with other tech like AIS so you know who to talk to). It’s just the stuff that you don’t want to constantly broadcast I think.

    When we sail we normally have an anchor ball, motoring cone, ensign, courtesy flag, plus any flags for racing (and free rum). Oh and Q to declare we definitely aren’t smuggling cheese from France.
  2. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Quebec
    Not just Imperial. A US gallon ≠ Imperial gallon, for example.

    The US has been officially metric (primary system of weights and measures) since 1890 or so. (No typos there. Repeat: 1890).

    However, at the time they added that commerce could still be conducted in imperial and/or US measures to ensure trade with Britain (largest trading partner at the time) was not affected. So most Americans shrugged. The US military is one of the largest adopters of metric in the US. In large part due to NATO. But some units like knots (speed) and nautical miles won't be going anywhere soon. (At least the NM is formally 1852 metres, exactly, (since 195x)).

    Many Americans are very happy with metric as they used it a lot in the military, esp. when deployed or based overseas.

    If the US can't get metric right, how could they get flags right?
    Dan likes this.
  3. Rred

    Rred Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: In a safe place
    Actually it was the Canadians using "Imperial". Yeah, we all look alike.
    First time I took a long drive through Canada I couldn't figure out why I was getting such extremely high gas mileage...Imperial gallons can do that to you.(G)

    And while Canada is supposed to be all nice and metric, somehow, their carpenters still use fractional INCHES to measure wood.

    Metric just ain't calibrated to the right sizes for everything.
    markmud likes this.
  4. Alan Browne

    Alan Browne Nassau Grouper

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Quebec
    You can bet if Canada was using imperial it was because the UK was using imperial.

    I recall as a kid (16ish) where I worked the line at a small airport ("line boy") the pumps had to be changed from imperial to litres.

    It was always fun when an American came in and fuelled up in Imperial. Eyes bulging at their 20% improvement in fuel economy. Once it was litres, they knew they had to convert and the fun was gone...

    We also had an aviation "incident" because the government owned Air Canada at the time and insisted that many cockpit gauges be metric, including fuel quantity. On fuelling up at Ottawa, a conversion error was made and the B-767 took off light. It had a failed gauge (acceptable as long as the fuel was measured separately) so nobody noticed the low level until the engines quit one after the other... they landed at Gimli airport. Where the pilot had been an air cadet in his younger days. I flew on that B-767 as a passenger once upon a time.

    Yes, a lot of building materials are inches/feet, but many new building plans (usually government) are metric. That is akin the the above - Canada exports a lot of lumber to the US.

    And I beg to differ: metric can be used for anything. Proof? I just cracked open a bottle of beer and it is 341 ml. (12 ounces. Imperial ounces mind you.)
  5. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!

    Here is a link I found on Dockery. Dive flag history

    @Sam Miller III. Does this all sound right to you?

    Here is a cut and paste of the contents for convenience.

    Discharged from the U.S. Navy on August 16, 1949 Denzel James Dockery began his newly acquired trade of Diving with a home built "SCUBA" rig manufactured from a plan published in an issue of the "Popular Mechanics" magazine.After serving a period of apprentice with his new equipment and now newly wed to Ruth Evelyn Carlson, it became painfully apparent that the "Baker" flag he had used in the Navy was not recognized by civilian marine operators. The "Baker" flag is a solid red DANGER flag displayed by Navy personal when there were divers at work nearby. "Doc", as he was nick named, was using the flag as he had in the Navy, but no one was honoring its presents. Together he and Ruth fabricated a "Red" flag with a white stripe running across its middle. This flag showed the same pattern when viewed from either side. The Dockerys soon discovered that their flag was a copy of a National Flag used by Austria. After much research the White Stripe was quickly moved to Run from the upper left corner to the lower right corner. The flag was a little more difficult for Ruth to sew but was a true original "DIVER DOWN FLAG". It did not represent any country or organization that they could find. The "Divers Flag" was born. The fact that it reversed its self when viewed from the back was a necessary but acceptable trade off. Doc used the flag in his work and promoted it through the "Cuadro Pescadores" Diving Club that they belonged to. During the early 1950's the Dockery's opened a "garage" Dive Shop in Flint, MI and sold the flag to local Divers. A sales representative for U.S. Divers named Ted Nixon saw their flag and offered to sell it Nationally while calling on his regular customers. With Ted's contacts the flag really sold. Ruth spent most of her spare time sewing flags by the hundreds. Meanwhile, Doc and the club members worked to get the flag recognized by the Michigan State Legislature as a means of protecting SCUBA Divers from marine traffic. Also, the newly formed Great Lakes Diving Council began promoting The FLAG to the Legislators of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. Each of the Legislations in turn passed laws forcing penalties to be levied against Divers who did not use The FLAG but gave the Diver no legal protection against boaters while using it. Their efforts had "BACKFIRED". By this time many other companies were making The Flag and Doc & Ruth decided it was time to drop out of the picture and direct their attention to their growing Diving business. The Diving industry has rewarded them with a comfortable life style and a small place in the HISTORY OF DIVING.

    Kosta Koeman
    It is full , as we often state in mixed company "bovine excrement"

    FYI and others in the current the UW world who were not participants or witness to diving as it has evolved.

    "Discharged from the U.S. Navy on August 16, 1949 Denzel James Dockery began his newly acquired trade of Diving with a home built "SCUBA" rig manufactured from a plan published in an issue of the "Popular Mechanics" magazine"

    Self contained diving was first introduced to the US via the great late Australian Dr. Hans Hass who produced a B&W movie "Under the red sea." In the movie the divers were using O2 rebreathers and were "Swim diving" ( a term that stuck around for a number of years .-
    ( My cousin who was a recent grad In Mining Engineering and I made a rebreather from MSA & WW11 surplus items - dove it 2 times in a pool- a story for another time)

    In December 1948 James Dougan published "The first of the men fish" in the now defunct magazine Science Illustrated . This was the first exposure of the then very small diving community to "Cousteau Diving" which rapidly became "Lung Diving" in SoCal. The article was almost over looked since the magazine featured a model train on the cover and was devoted to model trains - except the one menfish article.

    Bill Barada developed the dry suit in 1948 - called the Bel Aqua.
    February 1949 the first US dive manual "Aqua Lung for Underwater Swimming" was published by Spaco in NYC.
    1948-1949 Rene Bussoz established Rene Sporting good in Westwood California, In 1952 the name was changed to US Divers - Now Aqua Lung.
    "Diving with a home built "SCUBA" rig manufactured from a plan published in an issue of the "Popular Mechanics" magazine"

    The article appeared in 1953,,,not 1949 as stated by Dockery. I have a copy of the magazine currently packed away -- (was Popular Mechanics or Mechanics Illustrated ?) I also made one -still have part of it -- didn't really work that great
    In the very early issue of Dive Training magazine Collen Bondi published an article about the dive flag, In the next article Dockery wrote the magazine and proclaimed he was the father of the flag.
    I was baffled as was all who had wrote to the only dive publication of that era Skin Diver magazine (SDM) about the dive flag -- not one person recalled his participation

    As a professional witnesses I laboriously reviewed and documented every comment and/or article in SDM relating to the Dive flag -- Nothing ! Absolutely nothing appeared with his name on it.

    In 1993 Who';s who in SCUBA diving was published - Dockery only had one claim to fame - Once more he proclaimed he was the father of the dive flag
    There was no documentation that he was or was not the "Father: No one - disputed his claim

    Until now !
    Three weeks ago the grandson of Ted Nixon contacted me. He had discovered an old box full of news paper articles , club news letters and pictures all relating to Ted and the divers flag.
    The flag was totally Teds idea - his brain child -- even Identifies the lady who ted had sew the first prototype flag. There was no mention of Doc Dockery in any of the unearth documents

    Since I no longer write or publish I am in the process of cooperating with a established author to publish the true story of the divers flag- which excludes Dockery who had no involvement

    Stand by.....

    Sam Miller,. III
    cc @Akimbo
  6. wetb4igetinthewater

    wetb4igetinthewater Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Seattle
    @Sam Miller III,

    It always baffles me how people try to falsely claim some sort of glory. Thank you for your informative reply.

    Though I am somewhat saddened to hear you are not writing anymore. I think your memoirs would be warmly received.
    Schwob likes this.
  7. Diver0001

    Diver0001 Instructor, Scuba

    I think it is a credit to the inventor of the red/white diagonal flag that they saw a need and thought of something that fit that need perfectly.

    Obviously, it's an American invention and these days it's not fashionable to consider Americans as trend setters, but when this flag was developed they were held in much higher regard internationally and the idea stuck.

    That's basically what it boils down to. It was a good idea and the idea stuck.

    Rob9876 likes this.

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